October 27, 2012

Review – Silent Hill: Revelation

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , — Jamie Love @ 2:24 pm

Review Silent Hill Revelation
With the abandoned streets filled with fog and the faceless nurses in place, the latest adaption of Silent Hill descends on theaters, primarily as a reminder of why so many videogame franchises adapt rather poorly to film.

Much like 2004’s Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Silent Hill: Revelation captures the settings and names of a videogame while struggling to carry the baggage of the original film, and attempting to weave its own story from that mixed bag of details.

Rather than taking the opportunity of the license to tell a unique story with the rich visual aesthetics Silent Hill offers, Revelation stitches the plot of the third Silent Hill videogame together with the story established by the first film adaption of the series.

Unlike the original 2006 film release, the attempt to cram all the details into a singular film leaves audiences with a muddled mess, where characters have little time to make any connection with each other or viewers while rushing through obligatory dialogue and sequences in order to check every box on the list.

I’m skeptical about whether I can even sum all the details up for you, but let’s give it a shot.


October 23, 2012

Review – Silent Hill: Book of Memories

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 9:04 pm

Review Silent Hill Book of Memories
Living up to its name, the Book of Memories allows those that possess it to change the memories of others, essentially warping events in their favour to gain anything their little heart’s desire. Since said book arrives from the twisted town of Silent Hill, the consequences are inevitably twisted as well.

Changing memories in your favour comes at the expense of someone else’s good fortune. At least, I think that’s how this works.

After an initial delivery from a familiar postman, narrative depends on snippets of text, which during the first level detailed one person’s troubles at work, eventually leading to my own character getting a promotion because of said woes by the level’s completion. As with Silent Hill: Downpour earlier this year, the series seems continually flustered in the attempt to capture the essence of minimalist story telling that has made previous entries in the franchise successful.

The less-is-more approach here feeds detachment from events and characters that players have no emphasis or opportunity to make a connection with, which severely hurts the grind of play the game offers as the main course.


March 19, 2012

Review – Silent Hill: Downpour

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 8:52 am

Review Silent Hill Downpour
While the Silent Hill Tourism Board has long since given up hope, the collapsing town still attracts a few lost souls each year as stray individuals find themselves wandering the misty streets and confronting truths they’ve worked hard to suppress.

I suppose Silent Hill is a bit like the town Freud might have built, where the subconscious takes physical shape and the only way to survive the demonic torture chamber unleashed is to shine light on the darkest recesses of the mind, exposing what visitors have failed to resolve on their own and desperately tried to bury.

The earliest visits to Silent Hill began with physical searches, whether it was Harry Mason searching for his lost daughter, or James Sunderland chasing the chance to see his wife again. That latter search set the bar for a series about people burdened by the past, forced through a cathartic process while wandering those streets. It’s a legacy that frames Silent Hill as a twisted parental hand that isn’t really trying to kill people, but rather, attempting to heal them.

Silent Hill is a psychological meat grinder, with people going in one end and the crank slowly turning to show the raw meat at the heart of each. It isn’t surprising that the premise has created formulaic entries in recent years, such as 2008’s Homecoming, which seemed to create a patchwork quilt from previous releases. But 2009 saw the release of Shattered Memories, which attempted to include the player in the analytical process, and regardless of your feelings toward that release, that experiment created a Silent Hill title that was unquestionably unique.

There are times that Downpour appears to bridge the gap between those points, mixing familiar mechanics and mind games to find brief moments that feed on the player to create some space for empathy with the trials of convict Murphy Pendleton. But as the truth about Murphy comes to light, the complicated narrative misses any opportunity to truly create a character that earns enduring sympathy or comprehension.


August 27, 2011

Hands On with Silent Hill Downpour

Silent Hill Downpour Hands On
An over-turned prison bus gives Murphy Pendleton cause and opportunity to attempt a run through Silent Hill, and I was recently given some time with Konami to poke around the dilapidated buildings immediately awaiting him after the chance prison break.

Murphy’s arrival in the town where I’d like to build my dream house seems accidental, but then no one really ends up in Silent Hill by accident, do they?


June 3, 2011

Konami’s Pre-E3 Show

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , , , — Jamie Love @ 1:12 am

Konami E3 Pre-Show
I’ve returned from Konami’s first Pre-E3 showing with a powerful yearning to sleep after a long day, but I’ll instead endeavor to string together some words for you Sugarfiends regarding the event – that’s just the kind of guy I am after all.

Members of Team Sugar attended the Toronto event, which consisted of video announcements simultaneously screened for audiences in several locations around the globe and online, which Konami cited as an effort to reach fans more directly before the more closed nature of E3 commands the thunder next week.


January 11, 2010

Review – Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , — Jamie Love @ 8:56 pm

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
It’s been nearly ten years since Silent Hill 2 set the bar for the series, largely owing to the work of Takayoshi Sato, who soon after vanished over the Western horizon leaving a faint scent of J.D. Salinger on the air. The game’s presentation and treatment of a psychologically driven narrative has cast a shadow of expectation over every subsequent release, causing a fair amount of confusion concerning the best direction the series might take.

While there has been some experimentation and deviations from the formula, recent entries in the series have suffered trying to meet those expectations, as much a victim of the legacy as any game that becomes a prisoner of previous accomplishments.

So I very nearly let Shattered Memories pass me by, assuming there was nothing a re-imagining of the original Silent Hill could offer, particularly on the Wii.

But since I’ve been forced to reconsider my stance and find myself suggesting the game is one of the most important releases of 2009, we should probably have a chat about it.


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